J.B. Hunt keeps rolling, but trucks stall

Increased shipping volumes and moderating fuel prices helped J.B. Hunt Transport Services grow second quarter sales 10.1% to nearly $1.4 billion while profits disappointed slightly.

Profits for the period ended June 30 increased to $87.7 million, or 73 cents a share, compared to $80.5 million, or 67 cents a share, during the comparable period the prior year. Earnings per share were a penny less than analysts’ forecast and operating margins contracted to 10.7% from 10.9%.

The company said it experienced load growth of 12% in its Intermodal division and 29% in its Integrated Capacity Solutions division. The company’s Dedicated Contract Services division saw revenues grow 13% as new, large private fleet conversions continued to be implemented, while revenue in the company’s Truck segment, its smallest division, decreased by 20% primarily from a smaller fleet size and lower utilization.

The company’s intermodal division accounts for 62% of total revenue and grew volumes by 12% during the quarter, according to the company. The weakest segment was trucking where the fleet size shrank 16% to 2,018 tractors compared to 2,396 the prior year and there was less utilization of the small fleet.